T-Nuts for the X3

E-Mail me if you'd like to know more.

Just about every mill owner ends up with one of these..

I've had this 3/8" kit for some time now and it's served me well. As luck would have it, the new mill had slightly smaller slots in the table and, although the few clamps that came with it were still 3/8", the T-Nuts were smaller than the ones in my kit.

Time to make some swarf!

Making T-Nuts is very easy and requires almost no precision. I made these using a tape measure!

First off get a bit of metal the right width (19mm) and face mill it to the correct height (13mm)

Next, mark out the width of the slot (12mm) and the height you want the tab to be (6mm)

Rough the cuts in a couple of passes

Before doing a finish cut on one Z height setting.

Having worked out that the length of the nut was going to be 20mm (the bit of steel was 80mm, and 20mm is 10 turns of the handle), center drill

Then drill to 8mm (or 5/16" in old peoples numbers), before tapping 3/8" BSW

The super-X3 has a tapping mode that will reverse the spindle when you hit a button. You still have to feed the tap using the quill though.
I figured I might as well try this on my plain X3. Now I don't care how much more power the super variant has, there's no way it's gonna power tap a 3/8" hole! My Machine got about 3 turns of the starting tap in before the drive tripped. Makes me feel a bit better about the whole X3 vs super X3 decision..

It's worth taking the time to countersink the holes, it'll save you some frustration later!

Cut each nut off in the saw

and finally take the sharp bits off with a sander and file

For bonus points (and a nice black finish), heat each nut bright orange and quench in some old engine oil. If there's enough carbon in the steel then they'll go nice and hard. In any event, they'll get a nice finish.

Worth a note about that MAPP torch, ripper little unit, piezo ignition means it's only ever a second from being lit, and the MAPP gas delivers heaps more heat than the old butane torch.
I was heating each of those nuts in the open air in about 30 seconds.
Seems like a cylinder lasts forever too!